The Gift of Giving

Aura
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Aura
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Joined: December 9th, 2011, 6:39 pm

May 7th, 2012, 7:39 am #1

(Matt Masters continued from A Gold Dubloon for the First One to Find the Right Toy)

Matt walked down the walkway leading from the Center for Women and Children in downtown Seattle. He had just finished with one of his regular visits, which he makes at least once or twice a week. He liked helping out at the center. It made him feel like he was doing good in the world. Helping less fortunate families try to get their lives back together, especially after the horrible things that most of them had been through, felt right. It just seemed like the kind of thing that he should be doing.

And today had been a special visit indeed.
Matt had walked into the center early in the afternoon with a box full of toys. He had bought the toys earlier that day from the mall for the kids at the center.

"Hey, Amy. I've got something for you." He called to the woman at the desk.

Amy Cooper turned around at her desk. She was a redheaded woman in her mid-twenties that worked at the center, which was owned by her aunt.

"Oh, hi Matt. What's in the box?"

"Well, you see..." He tried to keep his voice down, "...Since I didn't have the money to help with the Christmas gifts this year, I bought some stuff for the kids with some money I saved today."

"Matt!" Amy seemed surprised, but tried to keep her voice down as well, "You didn't have to do that!"

"Well, it just seemed like the right thing to do." The large teen answered sheepishly.

Amy shook her head and chuckled. "I swear, Matt. One day that 'nice guy' attitude is gonna end up causing you trouble."

Matt shrugged. "Well, it's never hurt me yet." He lowered his voice one more time. "By the way, when you give the kids the toys, just say that Santa brought them. Don't tell them it was me."

Amy smiled. "You got it, Robin Hood."

After his chat with Amy, Matt did his usual work around the center, which mainly involved making sure the center was safe and talking with abuse victims that were around his age. As he left for the day, he heard some voicescoming from the area around Amy's desk.

"Look, I got Rainbow Dash!"

"Wow! John Cena! Thanks, Santa!

Matt smiled as he walked through the door.

It was around 5 PM when Matt left the center. He still had around two hours before SmackDown was on, so he decided to sit on a bench in front of the center and watch the clouds to pass the time.

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v5 Characters:

B029- Matt Masters- DECEASED (114/152)

B043- Adonis Alba- DECEASED (124/152)

G051- Stacey Mordetsky- DECEASED (136/152)
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May 9th, 2012, 3:12 pm #2

Cassidy rounded the corner, out for a jog. She had a week off gymnastics, and was feeling lethargic. This corner marked the start of her cool down. She slowed to a stop and pulled out her headphones. The sound of Smashmouth was still audible.

Geez, didn't realize I had it so loud...

She wrapped the cord of her earbuds around the device, and tucked it into the front of her shorts. Still walking, she noted she'd broken out in the slightest sweat.

Cassidy looked around at the familiar signs, nothing ever seemed to change on this quiet road. It was an ideal place to be sweaty and gross. She let down her half ruined pony tail, and regrouped it. From behind the handful of hair, she heard a door open, and a few steps. She flipped her hair up and snapped in the tie. It was sloppy, bit it was out of her face.

A boy had exited the Women's Shelter. A very tall boy in fact, clearly not a helpless woman. Far too young to be an abuser.

WAIT! She recognized him from the school hallways... Matt!

She thought to call out, but he seemed to be deep in thought. Plus, he walked out of a women's shelter. She didn't know why he was there, by he probably wasn't particularly proud of whatever the reason. For all she knew, his mother or sister was in there, and she had no business seeing him there.

She was still standing with her hand around the base of her ponytail, indecisive. Maybe she should turn away, maybe she should walk by and pretend not to have seen him. Unless he did know somebody there and needed somebody to talk too... There were just too many possibilities!

She quickly looked down and began unravelling her head phones again. She'd play oblivious.
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May 15th, 2012, 10:42 pm #3

Matt had forgotten how relaxing watching clouds could be. Within the span of a few seconds, he had seen clouds that looked like a football, a swan, and a soda can. He felt as though he could do this for hours. Taking his eyes off the clouds for a moment, he checked the time on his phone. Yep, still a few minutes past 5. He really could stare at the clouds for another hour if he wanted to.

As he looked up from his watch, however, he saw someone on the sidewalk that looked familiar. It was a girl from school, Cassidy Kant. She was a cheerleader, as far as Matt remembered, but she wasn't spoiled or conceited at all. She was just a really nice, sweet girl. What was she doing around here at this time? Matt decided to be friendly, and gave her a smile and a wave.

"Hey."

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v5 Characters:

B029- Matt Masters- DECEASED (114/152)

B043- Adonis Alba- DECEASED (124/152)

G051- Stacey Mordetsky- DECEASED (136/152)
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May 16th, 2012, 4:53 am #4

The greeting seemed to be directed towards her. Cassidy turned her head, looking for the source.

Oh! The kid I was just looking at. Duh.

She smiled big and tried to look surprised. The smile was genuine, she could only hope the suprise looked the same. She pulled out her headphones, again, and tucked away we music player.

If he's calling out, he can't be too embarrassed to be here...

She had begun walking towards him. Unsure if it would be appropriate to walk up the steps, she stayed at the bottom. Her line of vision rose above his head to read the sign, and then back to him. She wanted it to be clear what she was asking.

"What brings you to a Women's Shelter?"

Crap Cas, there are like 100 different, more sensitive ways you could have asked!

She locked her eyebrows. Making sure they wouldn't lower interrogatingly, nor raise challengingly. She smiled and let out a slight laugh instead to show she was only confused, not nosy.
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May 17th, 2012, 7:19 am #5

"What brings you to a Women's Shelter?"

Cassidy smiled and laughed as she asked her question. Clearly she was a little confused as to what was going on. Matt couldn't really blame her. After all, it isn't every day you see the school giant sitting outside a women's shelter.

"Well, I volunteer here a couple times a week. Usually I make sure that everything around the center is safe and in working order, and I talk to teen abuse victims. I came by today to bring some toys to the kids that stay here."

Oh, sure, preach your charity work, you big blowhard.

Matt felt somewhat embarrassed about talking to Cassidy about his volunteering. Pretty much nobody outside of his neighborhood knew about it, and he wasn't the type to brag, so he kept quiet about it around the school. He hoped that she wasn't too put off by his unintentional bit of self-promotion. He hastily changed the subject to prevent further discomfort.

"So, what are you doing around here?"

He made his tone as comforting and non-confrontational as possible, but a tiny bit of embarrassment was still present on his voice. After all, he wasn't interrogating her, he was merely curious.

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v5 Characters:

B029- Matt Masters- DECEASED (114/152)

B043- Adonis Alba- DECEASED (124/152)

G051- Stacey Mordetsky- DECEASED (136/152)
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May 17th, 2012, 7:23 pm #6

Cassidy felt her own embarrassment surface. Along with it, some rosiness rose to her cheeks as she blushed.

"Hehe I'm out for a jog cause I was feeling a fat haha. I have a bit of time off gymnastics, and I'm just trying to keep in shape." She quickly changed the subject to assure him she wasn't fishing for a compliment.

Maybe I should ask him how he got involved with talking to abus- NO. That's definitely a personal question. Umm... She suddenly became aware of his huge figure looming over her. He was on a porch, and she was on the ground. Plus, he was gigantic. Ah-ha! Here's my discreet subject change!

"I bet it's nice the kids have somebody to look up to!" She meant it more as a compliment of his role than a pun, and hoped it sounded that way. Charitability always deserved praise. "Is it really rewarding?"
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May 22nd, 2012, 8:40 pm #7

Apparently, Cassidy was just out jogging to keep in shape. Really, Matt hadn't suspected any differently. From the fact that she was carrying headphones, as well as clearly dressed in jogging clothes, the clues were obvious. Still, it never hurts to ask, especially when trying to make conversation. Cassidy seemed interested in what he had to say, which was a relief. He really did not want to bore her to death talking about the center.

"I bet it's nice the kids have somebody to look up to! Is it really rewarding?"

Matt was pretty sure that she was sincere about the "someone to look up to" line, and not just making a joke. It was nice to have someone talk to him without mentioning his ridiculous height. As for her question, though, Matt knew his answer as soon as she asked it.

"Yeah, it feels pretty good. It feels kind of like I'm making a difference. Well, almost, at least." Matt answered with a smile. He looked back over his shoulder at the center.

"Besides, this sort of thing is kind of personal to me."

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v5 Characters:

B029- Matt Masters- DECEASED (114/152)

B043- Adonis Alba- DECEASED (124/152)

G051- Stacey Mordetsky- DECEASED (136/152)
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May 23rd, 2012, 4:15 am #8

Relief swept over her. Not only would her lingering curiosity be satiated, but the she could finally quit ignoring the metaphorical elephant. The conversation was getting deeper, and Cassidy loved getting to know people.

He'd tell his story, maybe she could tell hers. Hers would probably be much leads detailed though, seeing as she couldn't remember any of it, she'd just been told. Cassidy forced herself to stop hypothesizing the outcomes. Letting the situation play out, for whatever reason, was harder than imagining all the scenarios. Suspense was her drug.

She put her foot up on the bottom step and pretended to stretch her calf muscle. She was really trying to break down the staircase-barrier between them by drawing attention to it. Her neck was starting to tire from looking up, and it was awkward having a conversation from so far away.

She began to speak, hoping to show her curiousness without seeming nosy. Even if she was being a little nosy, she didn't want to make him feel bad. She wanted to listen, not to gossip. Her mouth quickly contorted to shape the sound into words.

"Oh?" She hesitated. Fears of invading his privacy were beginning to resurface.

No. If he was embarrassed, he wouldn't have said anything.

"Why's that?"
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May 26th, 2012, 9:36 pm #9

Why's that?

Matt's face suddenly turned grim. He hadn't expected her to ask. Truth be told, he probably set himself up for that upon saying that his reasons were personal, but still...he wasn't sure he was ready to talk about it. It had been a few years since it had happened, but these sorts of wounds didn't heal easily. He took a deep breath and walked over to Cassidy. His voice was soft and somber as he spoke.

"Well, after freshman year I met this girl in the neighborhood. Her father was a huge drunk, and she always had cuts and bruises that she needed to cover up. My mom would let her spend the day over at our house so that she wouldn't have to face her father so often. Despite what she went through, she always looked on the brighter side of things, and was always lifting people up when they felt down."

Matt looked at his feet. He never really pictured himself actually talking to someone about this.

"I guess she was one of the first people that I could actually consider a good friend."

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v5 Characters:

B029- Matt Masters- DECEASED (114/152)

B043- Adonis Alba- DECEASED (124/152)

G051- Stacey Mordetsky- DECEASED (136/152)
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May 27th, 2012, 12:04 am #10

The smile on Matt's face dropped, and Cassidy felt hers go with it.

Fuck Cassidy, you pried!

Her face went hot with regret. She felt she should wave her hands and retract the question. Her mouth opened slightly before his response came. Cassidy's brain was in hyper speed.

"Well, after freshman year..."

Oh no, here comes! Please don't be too sad!

"I met this girl..."

Oh no, it's not going to go well!

"Her father was a huge drunk, and she always had cuts and bruises..."

Poor girl! Is she okay now?

"Despite what she went through, she always looked on the brighter side of things.."

Aww what a saint. I hope she's alright.

"and was always lifting people up when they felt down"

STOP! I'm gonna cry!

"I guess she was one of the first people that I could actually consider a good friend."

He'd stopped. It was her turn now. Maybe now she should apologize for having asked. Or maybe just express her concern, and say she hoped all was well now.

And idea materialized. No. She could do better than that. If the situation wasn't solved, she could at least offer him a little hope.

"Well Matt, she sounds wonderful. And I'm sure no matter where she is or what she's going through, she's happy." Cassidy felt her own words comfort her. A girl with a spirit like the one Matt described could get through any trauma.

"And she's got a great friend like you looking out for her. I can't imagine her life getting anything but better."
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May 30th, 2012, 8:52 am #11

"Well Matt, she sounds wonderful. And I'm sure no matter where she is or what she's going through, she's happy."

Yeah. Where she is. At least nothing can hurt her anymore. Matt managed to smile a little at that thought.

"And she's got a great friend like you looking out for her. I can't imagine her life getting anything but better."

Matt's smile vanished, and he looked back at his shoes, trying to hide his face.

"Yeah..."

Even though she didn't know it, Cassidy pretty much said the worst thing she possibly could have in that situation. He didn't blame her, after all, she didn't know. But still, that sentence reminded him of all that had happened that fateful morning.

Sirens. Police cars. Her dad in handcuffs. The coroner's van.

Matt shook his head in an attempt to clear the images haunting his mind. Cassidy still stood in front of him, and he had no idea what to say. He tried to form words, but nothing seemed to fit together in his mind. He wanted to say something, he truly did, but he couldn't figure out how to do so without ruining the conversation. He decided to see if she would realize it on her own, and he could avoid telling her altogether. It wasn't a particularly good idea, but it was the only way he could think of to keep the conversation going. He sighed and finally spoke up.

"Maybe you know her. Her name's Angel White."

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B029- Matt Masters- DECEASED (114/152)

B043- Adonis Alba- DECEASED (124/152)

G051- Stacey Mordetsky- DECEASED (136/152)
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May 30th, 2012, 10:12 pm #12

Cassidy's jaw began to drop, but she snapped it back up. She'd heard the name. It was on the news a few years ago. The report said Angel'd been a kind girl from a broken home. The story had even mentioned a woman who'd been reaching out to her.

Mrs. Masters.

Her speech faltered, "o-o-ohhh..."

Of course the rest of the story was horrible. Strangled by her own father. Killed by the one who should have protected her. It was a horrible, disgusting irony. How could somebody kill their own child? The school photo of the girl along with a mug shot of her father had tempted Cassidy's imagination into depicting the scene, and in the end she had to watch TV to distract herself.

She'd lost herself in thought again. He own eyes watered up, wondering what this poor boy had gone through. Trying to save a soul, and having come so close. Matt must have really loved her.

"I'm so sorry..."

It didn't really matter. Angel was dead.

Dead.

The word had always scared her. Growing up in an athiest home, she could never help but wonder if death was the end. Now hearing that the last thing this girl's mind would know was fear and hate, she was even farther upset.

But now it was time for words. The tall boy would be expecting a response now, and he was due one for opening up so much. Cassidy couldn't help herself, she sputtered out the first words to come to mind. She felt selfish for asking. But she also wanted to know if he had closure. And he could probably answer without giving a rant that was impossible to understand. Her distraught eyes looked back up at him.

"D-do you think there's a-a.. Heaven?"
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May 31st, 2012, 8:12 pm #13

Angel's name had been enough. Cassidy's reaction was telling. She knew, and she was just as horrified and disgusted at the thought as he was. A cruel twist of fate in the life of someone completely innocent was the only way to describe it.

"D-do you think there's a-a.. Heaven?"

Cassidy's voice was shaky, and she was clearly upset. Matt began to have some regrets about telling her. He hadn't intended for i to affect her this badly. Still, she asked him a question, and he felt he had to give a genuine answer.

"Yeah, I like to think that there is a Heaven. I mean, souls need somewhere to go after the body passes on, right? A good soul will always find its way to Heaven, that's what I believe."

Matt looked up at the sky, deep in thought.

"You know, sometimes I wonder if she's watching me, and if she's proud of what I'm doing."

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B029- Matt Masters- DECEASED (114/152)

B043- Adonis Alba- DECEASED (124/152)

G051- Stacey Mordetsky- DECEASED (136/152)
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June 1st, 2012, 3:50 am #14

Seeing the shaken Cassidy seemed to bring out the caregiver in Matt. Maybe he was just comforting himself or answering a question, but his words were what she needed to hear.

"...souls need somewhere to go after the body passes on, right?"

The exact philosophy she had. Her parents' explanation of reuniting with the Earth or parallel dimensions followed by the "it's all just speculation" rant was never enough. This answer was simple, this answer was beautiful.

She repeated his words in her mind and felt herself relax. She hadn't thought her run would have gone this way, but a deep breath of fresh air along with a mind temporarily at ease left her feeling invincible.

"You know, sometimes I wonder if she's watching me, and if she's proud of what I'm doing."

He'd struck another cord. Her eyes darted up at the sky, thinking of the biological strangers who would be looking down on her. She looked back to Matt, but he was also looking up now.

She laughed and let out a satisfied sigh. The kid who was a stranger just minutes ago seemed like a close friend. It was so easy to trust him, everything about him was just so inviting.

They had exchanged enough deep conversation, and Cassidy really needed to get home. She felt her arm reach for the cell phone in her pocket. A discreet glance down confirmed that she needed to get home. Her fingertips ran across the bumps as she thought. It seemed petty to end such a conversation by asking him for his number.

Her hand pulled the phone out slightly as she straightened up. She hoped her face wasn't getting rosy, and she refocused on not accidently batting her eyelashes. She didn't need to scare away her new friend by looking like a hooker. She smiled, and felt the warmth of a slight blush arrive.

"This was nice." The phone was now clutched by both hands. "I really like talking to you."
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June 5th, 2012, 4:58 am #15

Cassidy laughed. It wasn't a cruel laugh, however. It sounded more relieved than anything else. As Matt looked back at her, he noticed her taking her phone out of her pocket. Maybe she was using it to check the time. After all, they had been talking for quite a while now, and it had to be geting late. That seemed like a good idea, so Matt reached into his pocket to retrieve his phone, too. Glancing at the screen, he saw that a lot of time had indeed passed since their conversation began. It was only about twenty minutes until SmackDown was set to start. If he hurried, he would probably be able to get home with just enough time to pop a Hot Pocket in the microwave before the first match.

He looked back at Cassidy. Her phone was held in both hands, and she was looking directly at him.

"This was nice. I really like talking to you."

Matt was surprised by her response. She had really had such a good time talking to him? He smiled a little at the thought. Matt's own phone was still grasped in the palm of his own hand as he responded.

"I really like talking to you, too."

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v5 Characters:

B029- Matt Masters- DECEASED (114/152)

B043- Adonis Alba- DECEASED (124/152)

G051- Stacey Mordetsky- DECEASED (136/152)
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